Blackmun to be named USOC chief

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Scott Blackmun will be named chief executive officer of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) on Wednesday, sources said on Tuesday.

Blackmun, a 52-year-old Colorado lawyer who formerly served as general counsel and interim CEO for USOC, will become the third person to hold the post in the last 10 months.

Blackmun, who will be introduced at a news conference on Wednesday, replaces Stephanie Streeter, who took over from Jim Scherr after he suddenly resigned in March.

Five days after Chicago's surprise elimination in the first round of voting in October to decide the host city for the 2016 Summer Games, USOC launched a search for a new chief executive, saying Streeter would not be a candidate.

Blackmun faces the daunting challenge of polishing the USOC's tarnished image and easing a strained relationship with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"Those who know him (Blackmun) from his past life with the Olympic movement know that there is a smart adult at the tiller of this boat," Doug Logan, CEO of USA Track and Field, told Reuters. "This is going to be seen internationally, particularly from the standpoint of those who criticized us for have an erratic leadership for the past few years, as a sign of stability."

The USOC has been locked in a bitter dispute for years with the IOC over its share of revenue from U.S. TV rights deals and global sponsorship agreements.

The USOC raised tensions further in August when it announced plans for an Olympic TV network without consulting the IOC. After an angry response from the IOC, the plans were put on hold.

U.S. Olympic officials believed both disputes contributed to Chicago's crushing defeat in its bid to land the 2016 Summer Games.

Critics complained USOC leadership was out of touch and unable to build key relationships and partnerships that have left the United States increasingly isolated on the international sports scene.

"I feel as long as the board does give Scott the mandate to make the changes that are necessary, he will be able to build some of those bridges that need to be built," said Chris Welton, a former top marketing executive for IOC.

Blackmun is no stranger to the sometimes complicated workings of the Olympic movement.

Blackmun also stepped in as acting chief executive for USOC from November 2000 to October 2001 and later became chief operating officer of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG).

(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto; Additional reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, Ben Klayman in Chicago. Editing by Justin Palmer)